Towson (23-10) at USC Upstate (19-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 19, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: G.B. Hodge Center (878) -- Spartanburg, South Carolina. Television: None. CIT Record: Towson 0-0, USC Upstate 1-1. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Towson Tigers will make their first postseason appearance since 1991 on Wednesday as they tangle with the USC Upstate Spartans in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament at the G.B. Hodge Center.
Towson's last trip to the postseason came when it reached the 1991 NCAA Tournament. The Tigers were hopeful to return to the Big Dance this season as they finished second in the Colonial Athletic Association standings to Delaware, but their dreamed died with a 75-71 loss to William & Mary in the semifinals of the conference tournament. Coach Pat Skerry has done a terrific job turning the program around. Towson won only one game in his inaugural year at the helm in 2011-12, but earned 18 victories last season and it will enter the CIT Tournament with 23 decisions.
The Spartans are making just their second postseason appearance in the school's Division I era. USC Upstate went 1-1 in the 2012 CIT Tournament. Coach Eddie Payne's squad posted the second-most wins in school history with 19, which included victories over Virginia Tech (64-63) and South Carolina (74-68). The Spartans came up just short of their 20th triumph on March 6, as they suffered a 78-75 double-overtime loss to the NCAA Tournament bound Mercer Bears in the Atlantic Sun Conference semifinals.
This will be the first meeting in history between Towson and USC Upstate.
A big reason for the Tigers' turnaround was senior forward Jerrelle Benimon, who paces the nation with 21 double-doubles. The two-time CAA Player of the Year leads Towson in scoring (18.9 ppg), rebounding (11.5 rpg), assists (3.6 apg) and blocks (1.2 bpg). Benimon was not the only Tiger to receive accolades as fellow seniors Marcus Damas (11.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Rafriel Guthrie (11.8 ppg) were both All-CAA Third Team selections. Mike Burwell also had a strong campaign, contributing 10.5 ppg.
The Spartans also have a solid group of seniors spearheading the charge. Torrey Craig and Ricardo Glenn each earned all-conference honors at the conclusion of the season. Craig was selected to the All-A-Sun First Team after leading the league in scoring with 16.8 ppg, while ranking fourth in rebounding at 6.8 rpg. Glenn paced the A-Sun in rebounding (8.1 rpg, offensive rebounds and field-goal percentage (.633) on his way to a Second Team accolade. Junior guard Ty Greene also made an impact with 14.5 ppg, 3.5 apg and 50 makes from 3- point range.
USC Upstate is 12-2 at home this season and 34-7 dating back to the start of the 2011-12 campaign. The Spartans have not lost at the Hodge Center in over two months. If their success in Spartanburg continues, Craig, who is ranked fourth in A-Sun history with 2,114 points, will have a much better chance of moving up to third on the conference's all-time leaderboard. However, slowing down Benimon and company is easier said than done.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: USC Upstate 73, Towson 70
03/19 10:34:45 ET